Anxiety and depression in individuals with somatic health problems. The Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT)

Scand J Prim Health Care. 2003 Sep;21(3):136-41. doi: 10.1080/02813430310002030.


Objective: To examine the relationship between anxiety disorders and depression and various somatic health problems in the general population.

Design: Cross-sectional study with survey methods and clinical examinations.

Setting: The Health Study of Nord-Trøndelag, Norway (the HUNT study).

Participants: 60869 individuals aged 20-89 years.

Main outcome measures: Anxiety disorder, depression and their comorbidity are categorized based on scores on the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. All somatic health variables are self-reported, while blood pressure, height and weight are measured. Multivariate nominal logistic regression analyses are used to investigate the relationship between somatic variables and the anxiety/depression categories.

Results: Most somatic health variables show a stronger association with comorbid anxiety disorder/depression than with anxiety disorder or depression alone. About one-third of individuals reporting somatic health problems also have anxiety disorder and/or depression.

Conclusion: Somatic health problems carry a high risk of both anxiety disorder and depression. Active identification and treatment of these co-occurring mental disorders are of practical importance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anxiety Disorders / complications*
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depressive Disorder / complications*
  • Depressive Disorder / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Somatoform Disorders / complications*
  • Somatoform Disorders / epidemiology